Join us for a PhD!

Graduate admissions are right around the corner, and my lab is looking for exceptional candidates interested in computational modeling and higher-level cognition. You can learn about about the lab by viewing this blog or our lab website. A list of recent papers is also available here.

About Us
We are interested in unlocking the secrets of human cognition (i.e., reasoning, thinking, learning, decision, and memory processes) through a combination of behavioral experiments, formal modeling, and cognitive neuroscience methods (e.g., brain imaging). As a grad student in the lab, your job is to lead grounding breaking studies while being trained by some of the most respected psychologist and neuroscientists in the world (i.e., the general faculty at NYU). Research ideas quickly evolve from idea to implementation, and students “own” the work they contribute to. Graduate students in my lab are encouraged to be independent scholars and lead via their own interests and ideas even early in their graduate career (at least earlier than most PhD programs). I generally try to keep my obligations overtaking my ability to be a “hands-on” advisor. I’m typically in the trenches debugging code with you and hashing out ideas (e.g., I helped write a lot of the code from psiturk a system the entire lab now uses to run online expeirments). I’m invested in getting your work published and sharing it with the world and want to help you get there.

Collaborative opportunities
NYU is an ideal place to study computational cognitive science and there are a number of faculty besides myself that you can collaborate with. Collaborations are frequent between different labs and between students/advisors within the psychology program (including Lila Davachi, Ernie Davis, Cate Hartley, Brenden Lake, Weiji Ma, Gary Marcus, Greg Murphy, Bob Rehder, and Marjorie Rhodes). Members of this group have weekly interdisciplinary meetings discussing a range of topics within the cognitive sciences. In addition, my lab is affiliated with the NYU Center for Data Science where you can take classes and learn from some of the top researchers in machine learning (particularly deep neural networks) and general data science methods.

Lab culture
We try to keep an ambitious but supportive lab culture made up of a diverse group of students and postdocs. We have regular lab retreats that include snowboarding, hiking, and camping. If you are in to surfing you can come out to Rockaway Beach with a few of us too. This is not even mentioning the cultural and culinary experience of living in New York City for a few years.

Who we are looking for
We are particularly interested in students with a strong quantitative background (e.g., Cognitive Science degree, computer science courses, engineering, etc…), those who have programming experience, and who are interested in a smooth blend of psychology, computational modeling, and even a little cognitive neuroscience. The work we do is often of a technical nature. A slogan in the lab is “If you can’t build it, you don’t understand it.” and that philosophy is why we place a strong emphasis on computational modeling. We prefer arguing about a equation or model than about a vague, verbal theory. An intuition for human behavior is key. Also, an eye for aesthetics and design is also a big plus (“Good design is a lot like clear thinking made visual” – Tufte). More than anything, we want to work with fun, ambitious people who are driven by curiosity, creativity, and rigorous scientific thinking.

If this sounds like a description of yourself (and sounds like something you’d like to spend a minimum of 5 years pursuing) please get in touch. You will have to apply through the standard NYU graduate admissions process, but there are places in the application form where you can indicate who you are most interested in working with. If you list me, be assured I will look closely at your application. Hope to hear from you!